When Your Baby Girl Turns 11…Let Her Shine!

This little girl of mine, I’m gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it’s a big deal. I’m just trying to figure out where the time went. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

There’s no real reason for writing this post, I guess. Maybe it’s just for me. Maybe it’s for my Bug some day. I don’t know, but I’m drawn to write it. Bump SEO, bump pageviews, forget about who even reads it at all. This is about my youngest baby girl and I. You see, it’s a bumpy road with her and I. It always has been. I wanted her more than life itself when I conceived her, yet as the years go by, I’ve wondered what in the HECK I was thinking when I made the conscious decision to have another child when I did. All in all, I wouldn’t change a thing, in fact. Today, this baby girl turns 11 years old and I’m just happy (more times than not) to just let her shine and call her mine.

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

See, my baby girl hit the streets running, figuratively (OK it would have been literally if she could have run then, but let’s go with figuratively here) on September 14, 2006. She was the youngest of five children and the apple of all of our eyes (except baby girl number three, she was not entirely sold). She was THE princess from day one and I worshipped her. Literally. She was perfect in every way. Still is in her own right!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

Once this “baby” found her way into the world…watch out. She owned it; and us. Sassy, frustrating, the very bane of my existence at times, the biggest talker you’ve ever met, and just so much of a handful at times, I wonder how I make it from day to day. But I see her beauty (even on her bad days) on the outside, but more importantly from within. She might be a hot mess at times, but she’ll do big things some day…mark my words!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

Kylee can be difficult, dramatic, and sassy at times. So difficult. So dramatic. SO SASSY. Sometimes (oh who am I kidding, a lot of the time) she makes me want to pull my hair out. Heck, I think she pulls my hair out when I sleep!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

She’s silly and adventurous!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

And she’s (almost) always fun. Almost. But above all else…she’s 11 today and that’s all that matters to her. Did you know that officially, without question, she can go up to all of the chain restaurant buffets by herself…without me…to get her own food now? The signs all say so and she was quick to remind me this morning. I see a lot of buffets in our future (and a lot of Airborne in mine so I can handle the buffets since I still have to walk Bubby up there!).

All in all…Bug might drive me insane. I might spend a whole lot of time in the school office for her. She may be my biggest challenge in life…for real. The very bane of my existence? Perhaps. But that smile. The sheer joy and love she feels and exudes when she’s feeling her best? It’s amazingly infectious and I love it!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

You see, when Bug smiles…when she really, really smiles and means it…to say she lights up a room is a gross understatement. It’s a complete and total illumination. An amazing aura like nothing you’ve experienced. It’s nothing short of magical! My unicorn (the one with the black horn most days) turns 11 today. I love her. I’m proud of her. She drives me crazy, but I just can’t wait to watch her change the world!

If you see this nugget today, wish her a happy 11th birthday. She’s pretty impressive with her drive-her-mom-crazy, talks-too-much, lives-on-the-edge, she’ll-do-amazing-things self. She deserves a happy birthday! Although she drives me nuts, I’ve resigned to let her shine…this little Bug of mine.

Happy birthday, baby girl! I love you more than the sky is blue. This life? It’s tough, but you’ve got this. You’ll rule it in fact! All my love forever and always (yes, even when we fight), Mommy!

On Turning a Half a Century Old

Upon turning a half a century old, I have a lot to reflect on. Some good, some bad, but all valuable in its own right. Does life really begin at 50, or is it basically just the beginning of the end?

On turning a half a century old, reflecting on good, bad, and valuable lessons. Does life really begin at 50, or is it just the beginning of the end?

I remember, vividly, the day I turned 25. I was depressed…so depressed. I knew, as the not-so-happily married mom of one almost four-year-old daughter with a “real” job and real bills, that I was no longer a kid anymore as soon as that clock struck midnight. I remember the week leading up to that day, crying regularly, knowing that day was the “beginning of the end” for me. I remember staying up until the clock turned, just to see if I felt different. I totally did. I felt grown, I didn’t feel like I was in a good place, and I was depressed as hell!

That year, my mom helped my then husband and friends in my neighborhood host a party for me. By host, I mean she basically planned and paid for it. She was worried about me. We still call it Suicide Watch 25 because it was THAT BAD in my mind. So bad. I really wanted to be a Toys ‘R Us Kid forever. The party happened, it was fun, and obviously, I didn’t commit suicide (because that would have been just a bit too dramatic, even for me). Life went on.

In fact, life’s gone on for me for an additional 25 years. The ups, the downs, the MANY more kids, the divorces, the marriages, the job changes. I’ve handled them all like an “adult” because that’s what I am and it’s what I’ve been since that day 25 years ago.

So, 25 years later (THE WHAT? I cannot be 50), I’m still trying to figure out this adulting thing. I’m still depressed about it, at times. I still long for that day, the one that lasted for a full 24 hours before that clock struck midnight, 25 years and one day ago.

My husband says I should wear this age with a badge of honor. A lot of people “don’t make it” here (well thanks, babe, that’s depressing). Not many have raised as many kids, have accomplished what I have, still look as good as I do (his rose-colored glasses are so refreshing to me, y’all), and a lot of people still don’t have their shit as together now as I did back then.

Sure, easy for him to say since his badge is 10 years younger than mine. Whatever. Grain of salt, but I love his sentiment and I definitely try to take his words, and sentiment, to heart.

But still, I’m 50 y’all. FIFTY. A half a century. I’ve seen a lot of shit in my life. I’ve seen global walls come down, and global walls go back up (thanks good and bad U.S. admins). I’ve seen my babies be born and grow, I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve seen failing health in family members, and I’ve witnessed the birth of my third generation. Literally, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain, I’ve seen sunny days…OH, you know.

My life’s been a good life. The wait for the rollercoaster always seems long and annoying, but it’s always worth the ride. Sure, I still get as depressed as I did 25 years ago about taking this adulting thing to a new level, but (other than the wrinkles) I don’t think I’d trade any experience (good or bad), any bit of knowledge I’ve obtained, or any nook and cranny of this long, crazy life for anything in the world. I could ditch the heartache (that’s a song for another time), I could ditch the aches and pains that catch up with you from being a tomboy on the playground in elementary school, a cheerleader in the 80’s, the ex-wife of an abusive crackhead, the mom of four kids by c-section and two kids by marriage (step parenting is *super fun*), but I would NOT be the person I am today if I skipped any of those stages in my life.

I’m a pretty freaking awesome person, if I do say so myself.

Do I wish I were a younger me? You bet your ass I do. I was gorgeous back then, but in a way, I’m more gorgeous today (I just have to be a little more inventive when I take selfies for you to see that on the outside). Do I wish my clock weren’t ticking so quickly? We all do. I still have littles to raise, a husband to care for and love, a family that means SO much to me, and work goals I need to accomplish.

Am I ready to give up? Hell no! I’m middle aged in my mind. I watch Good Morning America, people live well into their 100’s. It’s my turn to do this 25 year old depression again, and then again…again.

So, if you see me today, know that I’m fragile. I’m dealing with half a century of emotion…of love, of joy, of experience, and of pain. Understand that I might not be “myself” today, but tomorrow, when that clock strikes midnight again, we’re all cool. Be gentle with my heart. Today, as odd as it as it sounds, I’m feeling 25 again and I’m just trying to figure out where to go from here in this next chapter of my life.

Today, I turn 50, and I’m just not certain how I feel about turning a half a century old, you know?

Dear Society, Kylee is NEVER Going to Fit in Your Round Hole and It’s OK!

difficult child, parenting, advanced child, school difficulties

Dear school teachers, dear school admins, dear society, I get it. She drives me crazy too. But Kylee, my Bug, is never going to fit in your round holes. Don’t force her to conform. She can’t. Although it pains me, I won’t make her. She’s not built like everyone else and that’s what makes her unique. She’s clever, she’s cunning, but she’s not cut from the same cloth that you are. Don’t make her think that she’s anything less because she’s different. She’s not less. She’s different.

Don’t get me wrong, when she’s awake, when she’s making me doubt my parenting skills, I get frustrated too. But then I step back and really look at her. I look deeply into those big blue, knowing, defiant eyes, and I see the spark. When I watch her peacefully sleep, I see her “normal”. And it’s in those moments that I know that my square peg is anything but less. She’s more. More than you’ll ever know because you don’t give her a chance. Give her rote activities and she won’t do well. Challenge her creative side and you’ll surely see her shine. No, she’ll never fit your round hole, but her square peg of a self might just make a difference in this world if you’ll just let her never-easy-to-deal-with self shine. Let my baby shine. Let her be the difficult little thing that she is now because there is amazement in those defiant eyes. They defy the world because the world doesn’t accept the square pegs. Many a square peg has created light, the telephone, and flight. Embrace the square pegs.

Stop worrying about your state’s scores and start worrying about our children. For the first 3 years of her school career, she was in advanced classes. I pulled her. She started to struggle. You know why she struggled? Because she was bored with your state standards. She was bored with your lessons. She was bored with your tests. She was tired of being a square peg that was being shoved into your round holes. I grew tired of it too.

I get it. You’re doing your job. You’re very kind. You want my daughter to conform, to be round. But if you sit down and talk to her, I mean really talk, you’ll understand that you’re making a grievous error. She’s difficult, I know, and I apologize for that. I do mandate that she conforms on a behavioral basis and you’ve all confirmed that she does. But I will not force her to conform just for the sake of testing. I embrace her square personality and I defy you to shove her in your round hole.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say, with this ridiculously long rant, is that although she frustrates me too, I “get” her. I once was that square peg being shoved in that round hole. I didn’t fit. I probably never will. In fact, I don’t want to. I love my rough, square edges, and I love hers. Leave her alone. Let her be different. Different is good. Different is not less. Different is more. She’s more than you acknowledge. She’s more. She’ll always be more. Different. Be frustrated, be annoyed, be angry even, it’s OK. But remember that “different” leads to great things. She’ll be great if we just foster her right to be different. She’s not hurting you, don’t hurt her. Don’t shove her in that round hole. Just don’t.